China Vice Finance Minister Urges ‘High Alert’ on Local Debt

China Vice Finance Minister Urges ‘High Alert’ on Local Debt

A Chinese vice finance minister warned the nation must be on “high alert” to the dangers of rising debt in companies set up by local governments to fund investment projects.

“Prominent risks are not only in the shadow-banking area but also in local government financing vehicles, and we do need to be on high alert,” Zhu Guangyao said at a briefing in Beijing today. At the same time, companies are mainly investing in infrastructure projects with relatively good operations and repayment abilities, he said. Read more of this post

PBOC to Extend Cash Crunch as Zhou Discovers Flaws

PBOC to Extend Cash Crunch as Zhou Discovers Flaws

China’s finance companies predict central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan will extend a cash crunch, albeit without June’s dramatic swings, as he calls for the market to “discover and correct” excessive lending.

The seven-day repurchase rate, which measures interbank funding availability, may average 4 percent in the third quarter, compared with 3.62 percent in the past year, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of eight analysts. The rate surged to a record 10.8 percent on June 20, and averaged 4.49 percent last quarter, the highest since the National Interbank Funding Center started compiling the data in 2003. The similar rate in India fell 73 basis points. Read more of this post

China Probes Tetra Pak for Abuse of Market Control; China Probes 60 Drugmakers in Effort to Curb Drug Prices

China Probes Tetra Pak for Abuse of Market Control, Xinhua Says

China is probing Switzerland-based food-packaging company Tetra Pak Group for possible abuse of market dominance, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing the State Administration for Industry & Commerce.

The market watchdog has organized more than 20 of its regional agencies to investigate the allegations, Xinhua said without giving further details. Three telephone calls to the watchdog’s press office in Beijing weren’t answered. Calls to Tetra Pak’s Shanghai office were also not answered. Read more of this post

Christmas Candy Stockpiled in July as Aussie Slump Looms

Christmas Candy Stockpiled in July as Aussie Slump Looms

Andy Adams has already bought his Christmas candy. With the Australian dollar down 12 percent in its longest losing streak since the 2008 financial crisis, he’s stocking his food store early in anticipation of a further fall.

“We basically doubled the size of our last order. We had to,” said Adams, whose British Sweets and Treats store in the Sydney suburb of Bondi caters to U.K., Irish and American expats craving Maynards Wine Gums, Barry’s Tea, and Baby Ruth bars. “We know the dollar’s going to creep down, so we’re trying to grab it now at a reasonable price.” Read more of this post

Machiavelli doesn’t belong to the 1 percent; “The Prince” is oft-quoted on Wall Street, but its author was a hero of the working class who despised elites

SATURDAY, JUN 29, 2013 11:00 PM MPST

Machiavelli doesn’t belong to the 1 percent

“The Prince” is oft-quoted on Wall Street, but its author was a hero of the working class who despised elites

BY CHRIS MAISANO

I keep a portrait of Machiavelli over my desk at work — an interior design choice that, I have learned, dismays some of my coworkers. Amid a recent mid-afternoon zone out, I received an email from one of them with the title “Who Wants to Serve a Billionaire?” The message contained a link to an article in the Guardian about a growing group of international multi-billionaires, their so-called “superyachts,” and the desperate lower-class Britons and Eastern Europeans who serve them as deckhands. Read more of this post

The Road To Resilience: How Unscientific Innovation Saved Marlin Steel; A little maker of metal baskets shows how U.S. manufacturers can thrive against all comers

THE ROAD TO RESILIENCE: HOW UNSCIENTIFIC INNOVATION SAVED MARLIN STEEL

A LITTLE MAKER OF METAL BASKETS SHOWS HOW U.S. MANUFACTURERS CAN THRIVE AGAINST ALL COMERS.

BY: CHARLES FISHMAN

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Custom-made for a supplier of GM auto parts, this basket holds pump housings firmly in place as they are washed; the mesh top aids water flow. Owner Drew Greenblatt thought Marlin would give him an easy annuity. Then he found himself in a showdown with Chinese competitors.

The American economy has some really quirky corners–places so esoteric or tucked away we hardly notice them. In 1998, Drew Greenblatt bought one of those corners–a company called Marlin Steel that specialized in a single product: wire bagel baskets, which bagel stores use to display their wares. Marlin had the market to itself. “You had the guy who made baskets for the doughnut stores, Dunkin’ Donuts and the like,” Greenblatt says. “You had the guy who made the metal chafer stands that buffet serving dishes sit on, with the cans of Sterno. And you had us, doing the bagel baskets.” Marlin’s customers were the big chains: Einstein Bros., Bruegger’s. “Once in a while, we’d edge into each other’s business,” he says. “The doughnut guy would try to get some bagel stores. But mostly we did our own thing.” Read more of this post

Ferrari-Beating Great Wall Motor Shows Wei Jianjun Forging Next Hyundai

Ferrari-Beating Great Wall Shows Wei Forging Next Hyundai

Wang Jiangwei recalls spending last summer sweating through a month of military drills conducted by Chinese People’s Liberation Army instructors. Wang isn’t a soldier; he’s a researcher at Great Wall Motor Co. His Baoding, China-based employer is so profitable, it generates a fatter margin than any listed carmaker in the world. Behind the success is Chairman Wei Jianjun, who has built China’s biggest SUV maker with a leadership style that stands out for its emphasis on discipline and frugality. “The military training is pretty serious and tough,” said Wang. “Not only new hires but people who get promoted, even those becoming department heads, need to redo training.” Great Wall represents a rare breed of Chinese automakers independent of foreign partners and government, sparing it from having to split profits and endure extra bureaucracy. With the stock surging 60-fold (2333) in Hong Kong since its 2008 low, Wei has become Asia’s wealthiest car executive, with an estimated fortune of $6.5 billion as he strives to create China’s first global automotive brand. “Wei is a real professional, a real entrepreneur,” said Bill Russo, formerly vice president of Chrysler Northeast Asia and now president of automotive consultant Synergistics Ltd. in Beijing. “If there’s one or two automakers able to survive all the competition with foreign rivals in the next decades or so, Great Wall will definitely be one of them.” Read more of this post

“If you want to develop leaders and not followers, one of the key things you have to learn to do is delegate.” OTIS president says a key to management is learning to delegate and appreciate employees’ efforts, even if they don’t succeed

July 4, 2013

Pedro Baranda of Otis Elevator, on the Push for Innovation

By ADAM BRYANT

This interview with Pedro Baranda, president of the Otis Elevator Company, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

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Pedro Baranda, president of the Otis Elevator Company, says that “if you want to develop leaders and not followers, one of the key things you have to learn to do is delegate.”

Q. What was your first management role?

A. I studied a lot in my 20s — a six-year program in Spain, and then a Ph.D. here in the United States. So my first management role was when I was about 30. I was a research engineer and I had to hire two people.

Q. And was it an easy transition for you?

A. I probably made quite a few mistakes and learned from them. The main mistake I tended to make — and probably still do sometimes — is that because I’m an engineer, I like to get into the details of things. So I got some feedback about it early on, such as, “Let me do my job.” That was an important lesson, because if you want to develop leaders and not followers, one of the key things you have to learn to do is delegate. One of my bosses once told me: “You’ve got to delegate because there are only three possible outcomes. You tell them what your expectations are, and if their solution is better than yours, that’s fantastic. If the solution is the same as yours would be, then it’s fantastic, too, because at least you didn’t have to do it. And if it’s not as good as you expected, you can always take the time to teach them why and what to do differently. That way, you will have learned about the person and the person will have learned from you.” That lesson about delegation is fundamental if you want to develop leaders and not followers. I heard an expression from one of my business professors — that talent flow is the best predictor of future cash flows — and that has stayed with me. Read more of this post

William Heinecke, an Early Entrepreneur in Asia, Is Still Finding Success; The billionaire chairman of Minor International has maintained the spirit of American entrepreneurship: find a gap and fill it

JULY 4, 2013, 1:48 PM

William Heinecke, an Early Entrepreneur in Asia, Is Still Finding Success

By RON GLUCKMAN

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From his Asian base, William Heinecke is expanding into Africa, the Middle East and Australia. “It’s a more complex world,” he says. “But the skills of being an entrepreneur haven’t changed, and probably won’t change.”

BANGKOK — William Ellwood Heinecke has always followed his instincts. He started his first businesses, cleaning offices and selling advertising, as an expatriate high school student in Bangkok. He was a millionaire before he reached voting age. Defying conventional wisdom at the time about overseas appetites, he introduced pizza to Asians in the early 1980s, the start of an empire of retailers, restaurants and resorts built around classic brands like Pizza Hut, Sizzler, Marriott and Esprit. It encompasses more than 10,000 rooms and 1,400 restaurants across 22 countries. He has moved up the value chain, developing his own successful brands. Now Mr. Heinecke, the billionaire chairman of Minor International, has aggressively steered expansion into the Middle East, Africa, Australia and emerging markets across Asia, flying around the region in corporate jets, swooping in on huge deals. Maintaining the spirit of American entrepreneurship, Mr. Heinecke has kept his mantra the same: find a gap and fill it. Read more of this post

How Simple Can Life Get? It’s Complicated; Scientists have long wondered how much life can be stripped down and still remain alive. The answer seems to be that the true essence of life is not some handful of genes, but coexistence

July 4, 2013

How Simple Can Life Get? It’s Complicated

In the pageant of life, we are genetically bloated. The human genome contains around 20,000 protein-coding genes. Many other species get by with a lot less. The gut microbe Escherichia coli, for example, has just 4,100 genes.

Scientists have long wondered how much further life can be stripped down and still remain alive. Is there a genetic essence of life? The answer seems to be that the true essence of life is not some handful of genes, but coexistence. Read more of this post

Emotional competence is just as important in education and learning

Emotions are just as important in education

Competence is the desired outcome of professions such as medicine and all forms of learning. To become competent often involves more than thinking: You have to acquire motor learning or skills training, and emotional and social learning (or affective learning).

6 HOURS 23 MIN AGO

Competence is the desired outcome of professions such as medicine and all forms of learning. To become competent often involves more than thinking: You have to acquire motor learning or skills training, and emotional and social learning (or affective learning). Most educational institutions, schools and colleges emphasise the thinking aspect, or cognition. Less attention is paid to the emotional aspects. Yet, emotions are important as they play a vital part in learning, and can help or hinder a child’s academic commitment and success in school. Positive emotions directly relate to interest and self-motivation, which drive the attitudes critical for acquiring knowledge; negative emotions like depression are linked to the converse. Read more of this post

Performance of China’s Hong Kong Shares Has Been a Long-Term Letdown

July 4, 2013, 5:34 p.m. ET

Performance of China’s Hong Kong Shares Has Been a Long-Term Letdown

DANIEL INMAN

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When Tsingtao Brewery Co. 600600.SH +0.48% went public in Hong Kong in July 1993, runaway investor demand for the beer maker’s new shares lifted them 29% on their first trading day. Since then, nearly 600 other big Chinese companies have raised a total of about $250 billion through initial public offerings in Hong Kong, according to Dealogic. IPOs by banks, real-estate developers and other firms opened the door for foreign investors eager to bet on China’s booming economy—and vaulted Hong Kong into a big-time rival to New York and London in the global battle for new stock listings. But the performance of so-called H-shares, as Hong Kong listings of companies incorporated in China are known, has been a letdown. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index is up 43% since its birth in 1994. Economic growth in China has averaged 10% over the past two decades. In comparison, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average lost 30% in a prolonged period of economic stagnation, and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index gained 101%. Read more of this post

Three Thai tycoons are warning of a nascent economic bubble, blaming policies that have encouraged consumers to take on debt while the government borrows hugely to spur the economy

Tycoons of disaster urge caution; State policies creating a bubble, they warn

Published: 4 Jul 2013 at 23.52

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From left, Sawasdi Horrungruang, Boonchai Bencharongkul and Prachai Leophairatana. The three business tycoons discussed how they survived the 1997 crisis. (Photo by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)

Three businessmen who lost most of their empires during the tom yum kung crisis are warning of a nascent economic bubble, blaming policies that have encouraged consumers to take on debt while the government borrows hugely to spur the economy. Boonchai Bencharongkul, a founder of No.2 mobile operator Total Access Communication (DTAC), voiced concern about a potential new crisis forming. “I think the current situation is worrisome. As one of those who had such an experience, I can smell it now. People are rushing and competing to buy condos while more and more people are driving Ferraris. These are the same things we saw before the 1997 crisis occurred,” Mr Boonchai told a forum hosted by Thansettakij newspaper Thursday. He said populist policies such as the first-time car buyer tax rebate have prodded people to borrow from banks as part of the government’s attempt to boost gross domestic product (GDP). “Don’t focus so much on GDP. In the end, people really care about how much money they have left in their pockets,” he said. Read more of this post

China Rongsheng, the nation’s biggest shipyard outside state control, is seeking support from the government and its largest shareholder amid a plunge in orders and prices

China Rongsheng’s Call for Government Support Drives Down Shares

China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd. (1101), the nation’s biggest shipyard outside state control, is seeking support from the government and its largest shareholder amid a plunge in orders and prices. The shares fell.

The shipbuilder had a net loss in the first half, it said in a filing on preliminary earnings to Hong Kong’s stock exchange today. Rongsheng, which reported its first annual loss since 2008 last year, dropped 9.4 percent to 96 Hong Kong cents as of 9:31 in Hong Kong trading. Read more of this post

One-Third of China Shipyards Face Closure as Orders Slump

One-Third of China Shipyards Face Closure as Orders Slump

By Jasmine Wang  Jul 4, 2013

China, the world’s biggest shipbuilding nation, may see a third of its yards shut down in about five years as they struggle to win orders amid a global vessel glut, an industry group said. The yards in peril of closure have failed to get any orders “for a very long period of time,” Wang Jinlian, secretary general of the China Association of National Shipbuilding Industry, said in an interview yesterday. They may end operations in three to five years if the “gloomy market persists.” The nation has more than 1,600 shipyards.

Read more of this post

China Suspends PMI Details in New Hurdle for Scrutiny of Economy

China Suspends PMI Details in New Hurdle for Scrutiny of Economy

China suspended the release of industry-specific data from a monthly survey of manufacturing purchasing managers, with an official saying there’s limited time to analyze the large volume of responses.

“We now have 3,000 samples in the survey, and from a technical point of view, time is very limited — there are many industries, you know,” Cai Jin, vice president of the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, which compiles the data with the National Bureau of Statistics, told reporters yesterday in Beijing. Read more of this post

Few Roads Leading to China Tell Tale of Mongolia Fears

Few Roads Leading to China Tell Tale of Mongolia Fears

Mongolia has a China complex.

Some 800 years after Genghis Khan forged its tribes into the world’s largest empire, Mongolians are awakening to lucrative — and unsettling — realities.

Lying beneath Mongolia’s storied lands are an estimated $1.3 trillion in mineral resources that could redraw global commodity maps, denting Australia’s coal, Brazil’s iron ore and Chile’s copper exports. A nation whose cultural icon remains the nomadic herder could become the next Kuwait and Qatar, examples of lightly populated countries grown luxuriously rich on the world’s thirst for commodities. Read more of this post

In China, a replica of Manhattan, the financial district of Yujiapu in the port city of Tianjin, loses its luster

In China, a replica of Manhattan loses its luster

by Rob Schmitz

Marketplace for Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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The financial district of Yujiapu in the port city of Tianjin aims to be a rival to Manhattan within ten years. The government has spent billions building replicas of Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center, and are building China’s largest high-speed rail station here. Economists question the district’s future. A construction worker rests underneath a bulldozer amidst the rubble of Yujiapu, one of the largest construction sites in the world, where the city of Tianjin is building dozens of skyscrapers in an effort to create one of the world’s largeste financial centers.

The buildings rising from a saltwater marsh in the port city of Tianjin looks an awful lot like New York City. But don’t be fooled, says Lin Lixue, a dapper young spokesman for a local developer. This Manhattan replica aims to be abigger Apple.

“Our goal is to create the world’s largest financial center, right here, within ten years,” says Lin. “We’re building skyscrapers, we’ve got China’s largest high-speed railway station coming soon, we’re building a tunnel under the sea, and we’ll soon build several subway lines.” Read more of this post

Beijing steps up centralisation of power to control provincial leaders

Beijing steps up centralisation of power to control provincial leaders

Friday, 05 July, 2013, 12:00am

Ivan Zhai and Echo Hui

More governors now have central government backgrounds and analysts say the trend of centralisation will continue for at least a decade

Beijing has sent more officials from ministries and state-owned enterprises to provinces during the latest leadership reshuffle, amid fears it may lose control of local governments, observers said. They say the trend of centralising power is likely to continue for at least a decade. More than 800 senior officials were elected to local governments, people’s congresses and people’s political consultative conferences during the reshuffle, which was wound up last week, Xinhua said. For the first time in nearly three decades, half of the 22 governors – most of whom were elected during the 18th party congress leadership reshuffle last year – had central government backgrounds, according to research by the Post. Five years ago, only two governors were directly installed by Beijing. Read more of this post

Central Bank Raises the Red Flag over P2P Lending Risks; “Some are selling wealth management products and guaranteeing loans under the banner of P2P business but they have gone beyond the scope of P2P lending.”

07.04.2013 16:29

Central Bank Raises the Red Flag over P2P Lending Risks

PBOC surveys find host of problems with companies offering peer-to-peer loans, and some worry the transactions amount to illegal fund raising

By staff reporters Li Xiaoxiao and Yang Lu

(Beijing) – A recent report by the central bank about peer-to-peer (P2P) lending websites in China has shed light on some severe problems in the business for which there is, as yet, little regulation. The original idea for P2P lending websites was that they were only a platform to match people with spare cash and those who need to borrow money. A typical transaction could see someone with cash to spare lend 5,000 yuan to a young couple wanting to decorate their new home. The attraction for lenders is that expected rates of return are mostly above 10 percent and some exceed 20 percent. In contrast, the annual interest rate on a one-year term deposit at banks is 3.25 percent. The industry started to take off in 2009, and now it is worth nearly 60 billion yuan. Read more of this post

China drug audit gives pharmaceutical groups the chills

July 4, 2013 8:20 pm

China drug audit gives pharmaceutical groups the chills

By Andrew Jack in London

After the gold rush of the past decade, the latest move this week by the Chinese authorities to probe the medicines sector has sent a chill wind through the multinational pharmaceutical groups expanding in the country. The National Development and Reform Commission in Beijing has signalled that it is examining pricing by 60 companies, including the domestic affiliates of half a dozen international groups such as Astellasof Japan, Merck of the US and GlaxoSmithKline in the UK.

Read more of this post

A Disease Without a Cure Spreads Quietly in the West; Valley fever has been labeled “a silent epidemic,” with over 20,000 cases reported each year, but each case is different, and doctors have yet to find a cure

July 4, 2013

A Disease Without a Cure Spreads Quietly in the West

By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — In 36 years with the Los Angeles police, Sgt. Irwin Klorman faced many dangerous situations, including one routine call that ended with Uzi fire and a bullet-riddled body sprawled on the living room floor.

But his most life-threatening encounter has been with coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, for which he is being treated here. Coccidioidomycosis, known as “cocci,” is an insidious airborne fungal disease in which microscopic spores in the soil take flight on the wind or even a mild breeze to lodge in the moist habitat of the lungs and, in the most extreme instances, spread to the bones, the skin, the eyes or, in Mr. Klorman’s case, the brain. Read more of this post

Qatar: what next for the world’s most aggressive deal hunter? Nation must grapple with the end of sky-high returns

July 4, 2013 8:55 pm

Qatar: what next for the world’s most aggressive deal hunter?

By Camilla Hall, Simeon Kerr, Roula Khalaf, Lionel Barber, Patrick Jenkins and Ed Hammond

As the global economy recovers, the nation must grapple with the end of sky-high returns

On a visit last year to Qatar Holding’s headquarters, a Gulf banker stepped inside a boardroom, intrigued by what he glimpsed as he walked past. His attention fixed on a set of whiteboards, each scrawled with the names of an array of global companies. This, he suspected, was a shopping list. Some of the companies, including Valentino, the Italian fashion label, had already been bought by other Qatari investors. So had a stake in Germany’s Siemens, which was also on the boards. Printemps, a French department store, would be snapped up months later. “It was as if there was no company that doesn’t interest them,” the banker says. Read more of this post

Metals pricing under threat from warehousing rule change; reduced dominance of warehousing companies in physical metals markets could lead to significant price drops for some metals

July 4, 2013 5:47 pm

Metals pricing under threat from warehousing rule change

By Jack Farchy

Warehousing sounds dull. But investors should pay attention: it may be about to reshape the global metals markets. The buzz among metals traders this week was not about Chinese growth or US monetary policy, but a proposed change in warehousing rules by the London Metal Exchange. The move, coming just six months after the LME was acquired by Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing for £1.4bn, aims to reduce long queues to remove metal from some warehouses in the LME’s global network. Should the LME push ahead with its proposal, traders and analysts say, the impact on the global metals markets could be dramatic, reducing the dominance of warehousing companies in physical metals markets and possibly leading to significant price drops for some metals. Read more of this post

Home Shopping Network Enjoys a Mobile-Shopping Rebirth in the Digital Era; More than half of all new customers come to HSN through their mobile phones

July 4, 2013, 7:05 p.m. ET

HSN Enjoys a Mobile-Shopping Rebirth in the Digital Era

SHELLY BANJO

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—When Mindy Grossman took over as CEO of HSN Inc. five years ago, she was up against naysayers who said the Home Shopping NetworkHSNI +1.80% would die in the digital age. True, Home Shopping Network had a reputation of C-list celebrities selling rhinestone jewelry and miracle skin creams to couch potatoes. But digital hasn’t been the death of HSN, by any means. Ms. Grossman, 55 years old, has begun to prove that she understands the audience HSN needs to attract and how they use mobile devices. HSN still has a long way to go to catch up to rival QVC, but after posting a multibillion-dollar loss in 2008, HSN Inc., which also includes home and lifestyle brand Cornerstone, started posting increasing profit, which last year topped $130 million. The stock price, less than $11 in 2008, is above $54 today, giving the company a market value of $2.9 billion. Read more of this post

Hoping to bring banking services to millions of people in small towns and villages, India is turning to industrial companies to set up banks, a strategy that has had bad consequences in other countries

July 4, 2013, 7:22 p.m. ET

India’s Risky Step to Boost Banks

NUPUR ACHARYA And SHEFALI ANAND

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MUMBAI—Hoping to bring banking services to millions of people in small towns and villages, India is turning to industrial companies to set up banks, a strategy that has had bad consequences in other countries. Regulators are taking this risk because only one in two Indians have bank accounts in India, and one in seven have access to bank credit, according to CrisilLtd., 500092.BY +0.14% a research unit of Standard & Poor’s. State-run banks, which dominate India’s banking system, are struggling to expand due to shortage of capital. Meanwhile, foreign banks have been stymied, because all of them together are allowed to open only 12 branches a year. Read more of this post

Asia Chip Makers Stand to Benefit From Move to Cut-Price Gadgets

July 4, 2013

Asia Chip Makers Stand to Benefit From Move to Cut-Price Gadgets

By MIYOUNG KIM | REUTERS

SEOUL — Asian chip makers are set to cash in on a major realignment in the volatile industry that is tilting the balance of power their way at the expense of gadget makers like Apple, after years of cautious investment kept supply in check.

Manufacturers, including Toshiba and SK Hynix, are poised to reap the rewards of soaring demand for cut-price tablets and smartphones in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, and the emergence of Chinese mobile device makers like Huawei Technologies. Read more of this post

The new hot commodities market: the cloud; Deutsche Börse to launch Cloud Exchange for spare cloud computing capacity

The new hot commodities market: the cloud

By Christopher Mims @mims July 2, 2013

Have some spare computing capacity in your data center, aka the “cloud”? Why not make some scratch by selling it on the open market? Or, if you’re so inclined, you could trade derivatives of cloud computing. In place of mortgage-backed securities, perhaps the world’s banks can pour their savings into another abstract financial instrument that depends on the reliability of Amazon’s web services. What could possibly go wrong? This is the promise of a new exchange for cloud computing capacity, called Cloud Exchange AG, which will launch early next year. It’s a joint venture of Deutsche Börse, which runs the Frankfurt stock exchange, and software development firm Zimory.

Trading computing capacity isn’t as simple as trading, say, wheat. The system implemented by the two firms will allow buyers to specify the location of servers, the precise vendor (e.g. Amazon, IBM, Rackspace), security measures and transfer speed, among other things. The scheme is similar to cloud marketplaces like Reserved Instance Marketplace by Amazon Web Services and SpotCloud by Virtustream, notes Ulrike Dauer at the Wall Street Journal. But on those platforms trade is restricted to one vendor, such as Amazon. The Deutsche Börse system allows trading across vendors. By 2015, Deutsche Börse hopes to offer derivatives and futures on cloud computing commodities trades. This could lead to a whole new level of collaboration (or competition) between Wall Street traders and their IT departments, as both try to predict the price of cloud computing resources weeks and months ahead.

As Competition Wanes, Amazon Cuts Back Discounts; After years of lowering book prices, Amazon is offering smaller discounts on some books. Authors and small publishers said this put some books beyond an audience’s reach

July 4, 2013

As Competition Wanes, Amazon Cuts Back Discounts

By DAVID STREITFELD

Jim Hollock’s first book, a true-crime tale set in Pennsylvania, got strong reviews and decent sales when it appeared in 2011. Now “Born to Lose” is losing momentum — yet Amazon, to the writer’s intense frustration, has increased the price by nearly a third. “At this point, people need an inducement,” said Mr. Hollock, a retired corrections official. “But instead of lowering the price, Amazon is raising it.” Other writers and publishers have the same complaint. They say Amazon, which became the biggest force in bookselling by discounting so heavily it often lost money, has been cutting back its deals for scholarly and small-press books. That creates the uneasy prospect of a two-tier system where some books are priced beyond an audience’s reach. Read more of this post

Brazilians Foil a Bus Fare Hike, but Commuting’s Still Costly

Brazilians Foil a Bus Fare Hike, but Commuting’s Still Costly

By Joshua Goodman on July 03, 2013

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The street protests that rocked São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro achieved their initial modest goal: In mid-June authorities revoked a 9¢ increase in bus fares that had gone into effect in both cities. Yet even without the fare hike, Brazilians devote a bigger share of their paychecks to mass transit than most of their urban counterparts around the world. Read more of this post

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